The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/19/13 at 11:21 AM ET
The Detroit Red Wings' signing of Pavel Datsyuk to a 3-year extension (with one year already remaining on Datsyuk's current contract) is a game-changer in terms of shaping the team going forward, but Red Wings director of European scouting Hakan Andersson related a tale to MLive's Ansar Khan that few fans know: the Wings had absolutely no idea who Datsyuk was when Andersson made a trip to Yekaterinburg, Russia back in 1998:
“It was his last year as a junior player (1997-98) and I was going to Eastern Russia, to a city called Yekaterinburg, where the Czar was killed in the early 1900s,'' Andersson said. “The player I wanted to see was a defenseman, Dmitri Kalinin, ended up being drafted by Buffalo (18th overall in 1998).''
Kalinin's club, Traktor Chelyabinsk, was playing at Dynamo Yekaterinburg, which, unbeknownst to Andersson, had this really shifty, creative little eye-catching center.
“As the game went on I saw this little centerman who was pretty good,'' Andersson said. “He worked hard up and down the ice, had good hockey sense. He broke up a lot of plays and had good skill. I went away from the game with a report on Kalinin, but also a report on this little kid.''
Andersson, accompanied by a Russian interpreter, attempted to speak to Datsyuk in the Zamboni entrance after the game.
“We wanted to meet with Kalinin because he was a possible first-rounder,'' Andersson said. “But the interpreter knew I was a little interested in Pav, so (Datsyuk) came walking by and he said, 'Are you that No. 13?' They talked briefly in Russian and then (Datsyuk) just took off. The interpreter said, 'He wasn't very interested in talking.' ''
Andersson continues relating his story, and boy howdy, is Khan's article is worth your time.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.